I See You As Just a Bunch of Daily API Calls

I am like that kid in the Sixth Sense movies. But instead of dead people I just see APIs. When I see you, I don’t see a person. I see a bunch of API calls. To me, you are just the sum of all of the API calls you make in a day. Honestly, I don’t even care about all of the transactions you make in a day-—you only matter as part of a larger demographic aggregate of API calls that speak to where I think there is opportunity for growth. You are just part of a larger suite of derivative financial digital products.

While you make thousands of API calls each day, these are the ones that matter the most to me as part of the larger demographic you are in:

  • /login - When you logged back into your bank and social network.
  • /accounts - Checking in on, and updating your various accounts.
  • /messages - Those chats with your partner, mom, and delivery driver.
  • /posts - When you posted on LinkedIn and on Instagram later today.
  • /comments - All of those random comments you sprayed around online.
  • /like - Everything you liked and fake liked across your social networks.
  • /share - Every one of those pictures, videos, and news items you shared.
  • /search - All of the things you searched for as you made your way today.
  • /products - The products you added to your wish list and ordered today.
  • /orders - Each order you placed to make sure you had what you needed.
  • /payments - Those payments you made to pay bills and order your food.
  • /transfers - That money you send to your brother to help him out.
  • /directions - Getting those directions to the meeting you were late for.
  • /transit - Swipe your phone on the subway to make your way uptown.
  • /building - Your badge swiping as you went into the building at work.
  • /videos - Those funny videos that you just watched while on the subway.
  • /images - The images you took walking, and those taken of you today.
  • /games - That game you played while waiting for your coffee order.
  • /advertising - All of those ads that targeted you across applications.

You made hundreds of API calls to these digital resources to make it through your day. There were plenty of other API calls made, but these are the ones that defined your day. These are the APIs calls that shaped who you were, where you went, and how you felt. Like the electricity, water, sewer, and other systems you depend on each day, you don’t see these digital resources—-they just are there. APIs are just the digital layer on top of many years of analog and very physical resources that are the building blocks of our day.

Of course, you are more than just your API calls. I wanted to highlight how we are often reduced to a transaction on a daily basis. Once you start seeing your day in terms of these transactions, it is hard to stop thinking about it-—at least for me. I am hyper aware of the API calls I make as I walk around the physical world, but also keenly aware how this drastically scales when at my workstation 9-5. It isn’t just APIs. I spend a lot of time thinking about how our water, electricity, telephone, traffic, transit, and other systems are working (or not working) around us. So maybe it’s just me. I am pretty sure that most other people just take these things for granted as they make their way through the day.